The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), through its public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) called the Standards Alliance, organized a four-day training activity in Washington, DC, from October 10-13, 2017. The orientation visit covered topics related to "A Risk-Based Approach to Consumer Protection," with the primary goal to help participating West African countries strengthen their risk-based consumer protection systems.
The visiting delegation included eight participants and one observer traveling from West Africa to Washington, including delegates from Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, and Ghana and one observer from Nigeria. Visiting delegates included Edmond Kouassi of CODINORM, Gerard Amangoua of the Association to Promote Ivoirian Exports (APEXI-CI), Idrissa Ouattara of the Ivorian Ministry of Commerce, Joyce Okoree from the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Michael Senayah from the Ghanaian Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Cynthia Dapaah of Ghana Food and Drug Authority (FDA), Ousmane Mbaye and Issa Wade from the Senegalese Internal Trade Department (DCI), and Cioma Ugwu from the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON).
The orientation visit consisted of four days of site visits and presentations that introduced the delegates to various aspects of the U.S. risk-based consumer protection system. The visit also addressed topics related to trade facilitation (including import safety and border measures), standards, conformity assessment, technical regulations (including relevant tests and certifications of imports), and the role of the government and the private sector.
During the delegation visit, 15 public- and private-sector organizations provided detailed presentations of various aspects of the U.S. consumer protection and regulatory system. These organizations included: the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the International Association of Plumbing Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), The Toy Association, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the Wine Institute, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ASTM International, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Nathan Associates, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA), the Personal Care Product Council (PCPC), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).
The framework for this delegation visit developed from the Standards Alliance needs assessment process, in which ANSI learned of a growing concern for low quality goods imported into West African countries that posed a risk to citizens (e.g., fake drugs, or electronics that pose fire hazards). The task of surveilling imported goods is a daunting one, but a risk-based approach ensures that constrained resources are directed toward high-risk goods versus low-risk goods.
The Standards Alliance was announced by USAID in November 2012 as a new funding facility designed to provide capacity-building assistance to developing countries, specifically related to implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. The main objectives of the program include: increased understanding of WTO TBT principles; implementation of the Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards; improved transparency in the development and/or modification of technical regulations; and more robust and transparent engagement with the private sector in standards development and use.
Trade Africa is a partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa to increase continental and regional trade within Africa, and to expand trade and economic ties among the Unites States, Africa, and other global markets. In 2016, the Trade Africa Initiative expanded to involve new partners, including Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, and Zambia. In support of Trade Africa, the Standards Alliance partnered with Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal to improve compliance with the WTO rules on trade facilitation and technical barriers to trade.
For more information on the Standards Alliance and for information on how to get involved in Standards Alliance activities with West Africa, visit the Standards Alliance web page.